In between all the details that were revealed with the announcement of the successor to the PSP was the fact that games will be stored on flash cards. With all the excitement, this small yet crucial piece of information has largely gone unnoticed despite the significant implications it potentially has. I have to admit it has taken most of a day for this fact to really sink in for what it actually means. At this early stage it is not certain if the game will need to be transferred from the flash card to the internal memory of the NGP but you will also have the option to buy the game digitally through the PSN store. Which I am a supporter of and applaud Sony if this is the route they are going down, but there is a large part of the gaming community who will not like this. Those who buy and sell games second hand.
PC gamers have been used to the concept now for several years with Steam but even they have not had to deal with many exclusively digital games, they could always buy the game on a DVD if they prefer. Increasingly, even if you purchased the PC-DVD version, you had to register it with a digital distribution service and effectively remove any option you had to sell it on second hand. The PSP Go now looks as if it was Sony dipping their toe into the digital distribution market and of course PlayStation3 games can now also be purchased through PSN through the wonder of digital distribution.
The bottom line here is that once you buy the game this way, it is yours and no-one elses, nor can it ever be anyone elses as it is tied to your digital identity, your PSN account. If the transfer rate of the flash cards is not high enough, it conceivable that you will have no choice but to install the game and probably tie it to your PSN account.
Sony may surprise me and already have some really smart and impressive way that a digital game can be disassociated from your account and sold on to someone else but you can be sure it will have to be sold through PSN in some way, thereby guaranteeing Sony a cut of the second hand market, a second bite of the cherry. This has long been a problem with games publishers as in the current second hand market, they don’t get a penny if a game is sold on.
Is the NGP the answer that publishers have been looking for and one that Sony hinted at when the PlayStation3 itself was announced back in 2006? What do you think?